MMMmmm….Can You Smell What's Cooking?

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chiang Mai…the best place to be for the Chinese New Year! Our hotel, the New Mitrapap, is right next to Chinatown….and even includes an "ant entourage" to welcome us to our room! Or you could say infestation…lol. For $15/night, what else could you expect? 

Wow, we sure chose the right time to come to Chiang Mai! It's tough to walk down the street without seeing something at a food stall to try! The food is so delicious and the streets are filled with decorations and activities. 

In the morning, after lining up for breakfast, which involved toasting your own bread on an open flamed burner that only partially worked, and discovering that there wasn't enough for all of us, we decided to find Boom Travel…a travel agency recommended by lots of travellers through hotel reviews. We were extremely happy with our find and ended up booking a few tours through them…at rates well below many of the other places we checked out! 

Day 1: Siam Cooking Class (600 baht). Amazing! They picked us up from Boom Travel, took us to a morning market for the experience and for a short crash course on the different vegetables, herbs, and spices used in Thai Cooking. It's a husband and wife team that holds the cooking class out of their home….two of the happiest, funniest people in Thailand! 

After choosing 7 dishes each!!…we began cooking…and eating! It was WAY too much food, but so much fun and I was quite amazed at how simple it seemed under their instructions! We also learned the art of vegetable carving…which should be left to the artists! haha. Jay did pretty well…Rick on the other hand, well….it was a good effort Rick! lol. 

Day 2: Muay Thai Boxing (300 baht): I didn't go…not my thing, but shopping is!! I enjoyed an evening of shopping, while Rick, Jay, and Andrea took in the Muay Thai. They had a phenomenal time. We had a great day of Chinese New Year events…amazing and crazy dragon dance and wonderful, delicious snacks…although we were still all full from all the food we cooked the day before!

Day 3: Elephant Trekking (600 baht): We found a great hotel just down the street from the New Mitrapap, the Prince Hotel (700 baht/night)…with a pool! They picked us up in the morning and enjoyed an hour drive through the beautiful countryside. One male elephant…and we got him! The biggest, toughest one. Apparently, they don't often use males because they are more aggressive and temperamental than the females…nice of them to advise us of this as we are climbing on! lol. Rick and Andrea ended up with the smallest elephant…who was trying to grow big and strong! She didn't stop eating! haha. I can't say elephant trekking is relaxing…or comfortable…lol…but it was fun! Our guy wouldn't eat any of the bananas or sugar cane that we had purchased for him…until the end…then was mad that we didn't have any more for him!! He let out the loudest yell…startling everyone. OMG…what do you do if an elephant gets mad and starts running off???!! Do you jump…even though you are 10 feet up? or do you hold on, close your eyes, and hope for the best?? I don't know…and thankfully we didn't find out! 
After the elephant trek, we had lunch and went to a tribal village…the Karen Tribe (not the long neck Karen tribe). Although set up for tourism and with many modern amenities, they still appear to live authentically. The children are so curious and friendly…we love interacting with them!

Our trek continued through some magnificent rice fields and countryside to a beautiful waterfall. The water was icy, but refreshing after our trek! We took a quick swim…well, I didn't, but everyone else did! Then continued on to our bamboo rafts! Four of us on one raft! Yikes…the water was only about 4 inches deep in some spots, so we managed to bottom out a few times and needless to say…we were soaked at the end of it! So much fun and such an amazing experience! So glad to be able to share this time with Rick and Andrea!

The rest of our time in Chiang Mai was spent walking around, checking out the markets, eating the food, and enjoying the pool…oh…and the men went for pedicures! I'll treasure those pictures forever!

Chinese New Year…means no train tickets! We did manage to get four seats on the Second Class train…12 hours of broken seats!

Bye Chiang Mai! Thanks for the adventure!


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